Just like any other showroom, your home needs to appear in "perfect" condition every day! That's difficult and we understand. But a home remaining unsold on the market may cost more than keeping it tidy in the short term. Condition is one important way in which a seller says, "I care" and that's very important to most buyers. Setting the stage and mood really does help a house to sell.
First Impressions Are Important - You don't get a second chance to make a good first impression!
Often a few quick and inexpensive improvements will reap a big return. A home that stands out among similarly priced houses is the one that sells. Why try to tell a prospective buyer how your home could look when you can show him with just a few small repairs, some clean-up and a little redecorating? Many times, buyers overestimate the costs of painting and repairs. Showing your home to its best advantage will result in a faster sale at a higher price. The following suggestions for preparing your home to sell are worth the special attention:
Curb appeal often determines whether someone is interested in seeing the inside of your home.
- The front door greets the prospects. Make sure it is clean and inviting. Paint gutters and downspouts.
- Exterior house paint in good condition and clean.
- Make sure the lawn is mowed, edged, fertilized, watered, shrubs are trimmed, leaves are raked, flower beds edged, weeded, cultivated and consider planting seasonal color.
- Absence of clutter in yard and driveway.
- Roof in good condition.
- All exterior lighting in working condition, with fresh bulbs.
- Screens and screen doors repaired.
- All door locks open properly and easily.
- Driveways and walks free of snow or grass clippings.
- Make your home as non-perilous as possible. Keep stairways clean and clear. Think about any slippery throw rugs, low-hanging overhead lights or extension cords that your prospects might encounter - and make those areas safe.
- Exterior windows should be clean and free of cobwebs, pollen, etc. (especially in spring and summer months)
Regardless of your decorating style, make sure your home is clean and welcoming.
- All appliances, light bulbs, door locks, etc. should be in good working order.
- The better organized a closet, the larger it appears. Even your closets and storage spaces should be free of non-essentials. Consider renting a public storage unit to free your home of clutter. Ask your agent what should be boxed up to give your home a more spacious look.
- Faded walls and woodwork reduce appeal. Walls should be clean and, preferably, freshly painted. A small investment in painting will make your home look fresh and can return more in additional selling price.
- Pay attention to details - loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, pushed out screen doors and other minor flaws detract from your home's value.
- Fix that faucet! Dripping water discolors sinks and implies faulty plumbing. Always make sure sinks and drains are clean and clear.
- Remove dirty dishes, no clutter on counter-tops..
- Rooms dusted, vacuumed and clutter-free.
- Put away valuables such as jewelry and cash, or remove completely.
- Bathrooms help sell homes. Check and repair caulking around tubs and showers. Make this room sparkle, enhance it with fresh flowers and bathmats as you would for a special guest.
- Arrange bedrooms neatly. Remove excess furniture and use attractive bedspreads and freshly laundered curtains. Open the windows and let lots of fresh air in.
- Make closets look bigger. Neat, well ordered closets show that space is ample. Closet lights are a special bonus: put some in!
- Display the full value of your attic and basement by removing all unnecessary articles. Perhaps, now is the time to start packing some of these items, and have neatly stacked boxes instead of cluttered shelves.
- Let the sun shine in! Open drapes and curtains to show how cheerful your home can be. Turn on every light in the house including closet lights.
- Pets underfoot? Keep them out of the way - preferably out of the house. Pay special attention to pet odors in the house: air it out often.
You never know when an agent will call to show your home, so stay one step ahead by doing the following:
- Remove all cooking and pet odors and keep all trash cans empty.
- Pleasant aromas like baking cookies or a low key potpourri are good.
- Keep carpets vacuumed and other floors dust free.
- Keep fresh towels in the bathrooms and make sure beds are properly made.
- Fresh flowers or fruit on the kitchen counter or dining table provides a welcoming touch.
- Silence is golden. Be courteous but don't force conversation with the potential buyer. He wants to inspect your house, not pay a social call.
- Three's a crowd. Avoid having many people present during inspections. The prospect will feel like an intruder and will hurry through the house. Too many people in a house makes it look smaller.
- Never enter into a conversation with a prospect. Let your agent who is showing your home answer any questions the prospective buyers may have. It is best for you to leave while the house is being shown.
- Turn on low volume soothing music. Soft music is inviting. Have the intercom or stereo tuned to a station of soft background music.
- If it's hot outside, turn on the air conditioning; and if it's cold outside, make sure your home is warm inside.
- If a prospective buyer comes by unexpectedly without a broker, get their name and phone number. FOR YOUR OWN PROTECTION, DO NOT SHOW THE HOME. Have unescorted buyers call your agent for an appointment.